Sonya Thomas lcsw

Passive Agression in Relationships – Part 1

We will be spending some time diving into the thorny and tenacious dynamics that exist when a  partner is passive aggressive.  Let’s start with some identifiers or descriptors of what passive aggression might look like.  This list is not exhaustive, and it one need not possess all characteristics to qualify as passive aggressive.  Any combination of the below can point towards a passive-aggressive personality:

  • A tendency to complain that too much is being asked of them and that expectations are unreasonable.
  • Oppositional to suggestions that are made to them.
  • Excessive procrastination when it comes to completing tasks.
  • Inefficiency or sub-par effort when engaged in a task.
  • Lack of follow through on agreed upon tasks/intentions.
  • Inflexibility or unwillingness to compromise.
  • Lack of clarity about what they want and why something might be important to them.
  • Hypersensitivity to actual or perceived criticism, even if delivered constructively.
  • Resistant to feedback.
  • Failure to take initiative or be pro-active when working as a team.
  • Resists deviating from their perceived domestic role and the responsibilities that are commensurate with their “role”.
  • Expectations of mind reading, ie expecting their partner to know what they want or need without having to articulate it.
  • Anger when a partner fails to mind read.
  • Quick to find fault or blame for any mistake or failure on the part of their partner.
  • A childhood in which one or both parents were critical and/or distant.
  • A history of being profoundly disappointed in childhood and on into adulthood, such that they avoid identifying desires to guard against future disappointment.
  • Immune to being labeled as passive aggressive.

Tackling passive aggression will take both an intrapsychic as well as an interpersonal approach, and both partners in a relationship will be required to stretch into their growth edges if this characterological issue has hope to change.  Stay tuned for our next post in this series, and until then, peace.